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The Older Persons' Transitions in Care (OPTIC) study: Pilot testing of the transition tracking tool.

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  • Background OPTIC is a mixed method Partnership for Health System Improvement ( webcite) study focused on improving care for nursing home (NH) residents who are transferred to and from emergency departments (EDs) via emergency medical services (EMS). In the pilot study we tested feasibility of concurrently collecting individual resident data during transitions across settings using the Transition Tracking Tool (T3). Methods The pilot study tracked 54 residents transferred from NHs to one of two EDs in two western Canadian provinces over a three month period. The T3 is an electronic data collection tool developed for this study to record data relevant to describing and determining success of transitions in care. It comprises 800+ data elements including resident characteristics, reasons and precipitating factors for transfer, advance directives, family involvement, healthcare services provided, disposition decisions, and dates/times and timing. Results Residents were elderly (mean age = 87.1 years) and the majority were female (61.8%). Feasibility of collecting data from multiple sources across two research sites was established. We identified resources and requirements to access and retrieve specific data elements in various settings to manage data collection processes and allocate research staff resources. We present preliminary data from NH, EMS, and ED settings. Conclusions While most research in this area has focused on a unidirectional process of patient progression from one care setting to another, this study established feasibility of collecting detailed data from beginning to end of a transition across multiple settings and in multiple directions.

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    Article (Published)
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    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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    • Reid, R. C., Cummings, G. E., Cooper, S. L., Abel, S. L., Bissell, L. J., Estabrooks, C. A., Rowe, B. H., Wagg, A., Norton, P., Ertel, M., & Cummings, G. G. (2013). The Older Persons' Transitions in Care (OPTIC) study: Pilot testing of the transition tracking tool. BMC Health Services Research, 13: 515.